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It’s All in the Family for New MDs


It’s All in the Family for New MDs

126 Medicine graduates receive degrees, hear poignant message about the opioid crisis

Olsen hooding

Elizabeth Olsen, MD, is hooded by her mother, Anna Marie Acopellito-Olsen, MD.

Stony Brook, NY – May 21, 2018 – For nearly half the 126 graduates at the Stony Brook University School of Medicine’s 44th Convocation, the traditional doctoral hooding ceremony – which officially earned them their MD degrees – included a once-in-a-lifetime moment. For those graduates, a parent or other family member with a doctoral degree took the honor and hooding their loved one. The hooding and degrees were conferred upon all of the graduates. They begin their residency training in July. Approximately half will practice at hospitals and academic medical centers in New York State, and the other half at facilities nationwide.

“This is a day of celebration amidst your years of hard work, dedication and commitment to the field you are entering,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine, as he addressed the graduates. “Medicine is a rapidly changing and dynamic landscape and is truly a field in which you will transform the lives of your patients and embrace lifelong learning.”


Convocation speaker Wilson M. Compton, MD, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, addressed the opioid crisis and the many opportunities graduates will have to improve the health of Americans.

The convocation speaker, Wilson M. Compton, MD, MPE, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), urged the graduates that by following their passions in medicine new opportunities will open up that will lead them to taking part in new discoveries, new treatments and disease prevention. He specifically addressed the opioid crisis happening in the United States right now, a crisis the new MDs can help stop in their roles as physicians, and in their chosen specialties to help prevent future health crises.

The graduates will impact many fields in medicine, as they will collectively practice in 20 specialties, such as Pediatrics, Surgery, Psychiatry and Emergency Medicine. 

For Surrender Moong, MD, born in England and raised in New Jersey and Maryland, Psychiatry is the future. He cites breakthroughs in understanding the brain by way of brain imaging and new pharmacy and psyche therapies as the reasons, ones which will help reduce the stigma of mental illness and better manage disease.

Hooded by his father, Baljit Singh Moonga, PhD, who also practices medicine and is a researcher, Dr. Moonga will begin a residency in Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He   continues to be inspired by his father’s work as well as his grandfather, a man who immigrated from India to England where it took him 10 years to establish a maxillofacial surgery practice after years of having to work in a factory.

For Staten Island native Elizabeth Olsen, MD, her mother has remained her inspiration. Both Elizabeth and her mother, Anna Marie Scopellito-Olsen, MD, are now Stony Brook University School of Medicine alumna. Dr. Scopellito-Olsen practices is Maine, and Dr. Olsen will begin her residency in Psychiatry at Brown University in Rhode Island.

hippocratic oath

All 126 graduates of the School of Medicine recited the Hippocratic Oath for the first time as MDs.

The two new MDs have more than their medical specialty in common. Both are part of the School’s largest set of Scholars for Medicine graduates ever. This year seven students graduated from the program, which offers high achieving high school graduates the opportunity to attend Stony Brook University under a unique academic and leadership tract as undergraduates, and then after earning a BS degree, matriculating directly into medical school.

Dr. Moonga and Olsen’s classmates have their own unique and varied personal stories that helped define their journey into medicine. For many, their family’s experiences in medicine and education played an important part as symbolized by the convocation. A total 60 students were hooded by a family member with a doctoral degree – 45 by a parent or both parents, and 15 by a brother, sister, or another family member.


About Stony Brook University School of Medicine:

Established in 1971, Stony Brook University School of Medicine includes 25 academic departments. The three missions of the School are to advance the understanding of the origins of human health and disease; train the next generation of committed, curious and highly capable physicians; and deliver world-class compassionate healthcare. As a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and a Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredited medical school, Stony Brook is one of the foremost institutes of higher medical education in the country. Each year the School trains nearly 500 medical students and more than 600 medical residents and fellows. Faculty research includes National Institutes of Health-sponsored programs in neurological diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, biomedical imaging, regenerative medicine, infectious diseases, and many other topics. Physicians on the School of Medicine faculty deliver world-class medical care through more than 31,000 inpatient, 108,000 emergency room, and 940,000 outpatient visits annually at Stony Brook University Hospital and affiliated clinical programs, making its clinical services one of the largest and highest quality medical schools on Long Island, New York. To learn more, visit

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